Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015, the year in review...

I always enjoy the year in review posts on blogs...particularly Caroline's, who did hers via vlog this year.  When I saw that Pamela had posted an idea for a year in review post, I decided to copy her (again), and will follow that with a few other highlights.

From the first line of the first post of each month this year...

Jan 1, 2015:  I wish everyone a fabulous new year ahead! My word for this year is 'action.'

Feb 1, 2015: I decided to forego a flu vaccination this year. Perhaps not my best decision.

Mar 3, 2015:  I love imaginative advertising.  I love Alfred Hitchcock.

Apr 6, 2015:  Today was our monthly quilting day at the library.

May 5, 2015: Tip of the week.  This tip is another one that saves fingernails/manicures.

Jun 2, 2015:  It always surprises me, this bright color of green when the sun shines through the leaves of the tree outside my kitchen window. 

Jul 1, 2015:  Holy cats, I can't believe it's July already! 

Aug 5, 2015:  I've been on the reserve list for this e-book at the library for a long time. 

Sep 1, 2015:  As is my usual, last night somewhat after 10:00 post meridiem I got a spurt of energy to do a few little chores before turning in for the night.

Oct 2, 2015:  I just put two chickens in the oven to roast.

Nov 1, 2015:  At about 2 a.m. this morning I decided to get an 'early' start on making today's dessert. 

Dec 1, 2015:  I snagged this photo-a-day challenge from Pamela at The Lady of the House Speaking

Hey, that is pretty representative of my life...reading, cooking, and quilting are mentioned; as are random observations and talk of my insomnia.  :) 

Now a few highlights...My word for the year was ACTION, and though I can't say I got a ton of things done, I did accomplish some things.

*REMODELING...the kitchen remodel was completed!  Yippee!!!

*REDECORATING...We completed the guest room.

*HOSTING...Carey's mom was here for three weeks.

*WORKING...I logged a lot of work days in the first half of the year.

*READING...I read 37 books this year (down from 58 the year before).  I found a new favorite author, and read four of hers, three of which I rated 10 points out of 10 (which pretty much means I would take those to the proverbial deserted island if I was expecting to get stuck there.)

Best books:   The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss, Falling From Horses by Molly Gloss, The Jump Off Creek by Molly Gloss.  I also rated The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo a 10/10

Worst books:  The Memory Thief by Emily Colin and The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North...these were each rated by me as 2 points out of 10.

*GOODBYING...We lost our sweet Minne, but were blessed to have her for thirteen years.

*QUILTING:  I completed piecing 2 tops and had them machine quilted;  I got 1 vintage quilt basted and ready to hand quilt.

*BAKING...I made lots of desserts for Sunday Family Dinners.

*WRITING...I fell down on the job with my 52 letters in 52 weeks challenge...only 36 letters were mailed this year.

and of course

*BLOGGING...I posted 161 blog posts.

So that wraps up another year.  I'm so thankful to have been here for it.  Each day since the car accident a few years ago, I find myself counting every new day as a bonus.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Thinking of all those affected by UK flooding...

Cobb at Lyme Regis Dorset
image credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

I was viewing photos online of all the flooding throughout the UK.  The one above is of the setting of a wonderful book I read earlier this year.

Prayers for my blog friends.  Prayers for all in the midst of clean up and recovery.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

In an effort to economize...

image credit:

I finally talked my husband into giving up satellite television.  Not that we are going without television, mind.  We just switched to getting our television 'bundled' with our phone/internet.  Fingers crossed, it will save about $100 a month.

We made the change about two weeks ago, and it has been aggravating not being able to remember the new channel numbers and missing some channels we no longer have access to.  Before the technician left, he said he didn't have any channel guide printouts, but they were available at their website to be downloaded and printed out.  Uh-huh.

For some reason the house wifi changed.  The computers were easy to switch over, but the printer is not.  It seems that I have to reinstall the printer and reset its wifi setting.  Easy enough, except that I stupidly updated my computer to Windows 10 awhile back.  The old printer is incompatible with the update.  So I need to call my computer guy and find out if it would be better to have him uninstall Windows 10 for me (which I would be happy to do, as I'm not liking it much) or buy a new printer.  Either way there will need to be $ spent.

We have had our home phone and internet through this provider for fifteen plus years (before our move even), and have been very satisfied.  They're not one of the big names.  They are a small rural cooperative.  I'm sure we will be satisfied again, but it may take some time.

Aaack, change, why are you so difficult?

Monday, December 28, 2015

Making it Monday: Chicken and Dumplings...

We had a very warm Christmas...high 70s F maybe...but last night we had a norther blow through, and today has been cold and blustery.

I stewed a chicken today, and after I boned it, I gave Carey two choices as to what he wanted me to make it into.  He chose Chicken and Dumplings.  I posted the recipe I use for these a couple of years ago over at What's Cookin' 4 Miles North of Nowhere.  At that time the photo I took was awful, and I meant to replace it with a better one.  Finally managed to do that tonight.

It is a bowl full of home-cooked love...comfort food at its best.  I took this photo of one of the dumplings cut in half to show how light and fluffy they cook up clear to the center.  Yummy! 

Last night I stayed up late reading.  At 5:00 a.m. I was still wide awake...a recurring problem for me.  I don't like getting up early, but I don't have a problem staying up till dawn.  

As the sun rose, I decided to knock a few things off of my weekly to-do list, so I made a menu plan for the week and made the grocery list.  Since I have been cooking out of the pantry and freezer for a good while, our cupboards were pretty bare.  

At 7:00 a.m. I was still wide awake, so I thought I'd just go ahead and go to the grocery store.  I made it home around 9:00 and started putting groceries away.  That's when I put the chicken in the slow cooker.

I slept for about three hours in the middle of the day.  Here's hoping that a warm bath and a happy tummy will help me actually get a whole night's sleep tonight.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Oh, Christmas Tree...

I have failed terribly at the Capturing December challenge, so I'm not even going to make a pretense of catching up anymore.  

At least our Christmas tree is finally complete.  Carey has been out of town, and it just didn't seem like a good idea to be up and down on the ladder with no one around, so it was only partially decorated for quite awhile till one of the grandsons came over and lent a hand.

For some reason I just didn't want to use our regular collection of Christmas ornaments this year.  As much as I love each and every one of them, I couldn't wrap my head around all the bright colors and variety this time.  

So I bought (though I truly meant to be paring down the collection this year) 4 dozen white/pearl balls at half price. 

I recycled a dozen spherical water bottles by covering their colored lids and drilling holes to add string loops for hanging.  They look pretty lame in this closeup photo, but taking in the whole tree, they look like bubbles.  :)

I used plain white cardstock and a jumbo punch to make some snowflakes that I just tucked in among the branches.

I reused white silk flower stems that I have used for years on the tips of the branches...they give a sense of a light sprinkling of snow...or at least that's what I imagine.  And the clear 'icicles' went on...if I just hung those on I could call the whole thing good...I love them so much.  

This year they were joined by some inexpensive little 'crystals.'  

And that's it.  I just realized that without a single red or green bauble on, it is really a wintry tree, and I could leave it up through January.  Not that I will.  Probably.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Last Midwife by Sandra Dallas

For some reason, Blogger is not making things easy tonight.  Add to that my ISP seems to be really bogging down while uploading photos.  So there may be no photos, or there may be a dozen of the same photo...not quite sure how this will turn out. 

I've really enjoyed this author's other books, but I'm about a third of the way through this one, and it just hasn't grabbed me.  Maybe things are just so busy with trying to get everything done for Christmas that it hasn't had my full attention.  Still I'm looking forward to crawling into bed to get in a few more chapters.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Capturing December Challenge, day 15...

Day 15...Favorite Holiday Song:  Infant Holy, Infant Lowly


Monday, December 14, 2015

Capturing December days 10 through 14...

Day 10...Wrapping Paper:  I bought one roll of new wrapping paper this year.  I will incorporate it with leftovers...if I ever get around to wrapping!  This is not how it was supposed to be this year!

Day 11...Green:  Well the tree is green...ALL green, because it doesn't have any ornaments on it yet!  This is not how it was supposed to be this year!

Day 12...A Beautiful Sight
Day 13...Family:

     Making ornaments with the girls.  This is EXACTLY how it was supposed to be this year!

Day 14: Christmas Tree...
     See "Day 11 above."


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Capturing December day 9 (and 6, 7, 8)...

 Day 9...Something you're reading:
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

How convenient that Day 9 is 'Something You're Reading' AND coincides with 'What I'm reading Wednesday.'   I'm about to start Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. I think I heard an interview with the author or a review on the radio...something piqued my interest to look for this one.  Happily I found it available from my library as an e-book with only one person ahead of me on the reservation list, and I just downloaded it. 

And to catch up with the days I missed...

Day 8...Ornaments:  They are unloaded from the closet, but not unpacked.  The tree is in the living room, but not unboxed.  Still...progress of sorts.

Day 7...Bright: Monday (day 7) was quilting day with my group at the library.  Made a little progress on the Midnight Mystery Quilt and had a yummy Christmas potluck lunch with the group.  I am listing this as 'bright' because it's always a bright spot in my month.

Day 6...Shopping:  I have four gifts left to shop for.  Two are fairly is just a bit of drive to pick up...and one I have absolutely no clue of what to get.  

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Capturing December Challenge day 5...

Today's temperature:
Mid 60s F (18 C).  Perfect temperature and a beautiful sunny day.  

I took this photo while I was out this afternoon.  It does not fill me with joy.  Don't get me wrong, it is a pretty valley, but it looks like this year round...rocky, green/brown, no seasonal oranges and reds in Fall, no fluffy white in Winter.  The only break from the constancy is a few weeks of wild flowers in Spring, and then back to this for the rest of the year.

Speaking of not being filled with joy, I skipped day 4 "Joy" of the December challenge.   I am not feeling the joy.  Truth be told, I am feeling pretty prickly lately.  In the past week I have: left a slightly snippy comment on Facebook; responded to a political email a family member sent me with a very cranky reply (I did manage to refrain from using the descriptive '@$$h01e' and settled for 'idiot'...both describing the politician, not the relative); managed to really annoy my husband; and I even let a phrase used on the radio get me really cheesed off today.

I think I need to put up the Christmas tree.  I've been really dreading it, but I think it's time to just get it done and over with.  Maybe accomplishing something will change my mood.  

Or maybe getting up and going to the auction tomorrow and coming home with something necessary...if I don't find something to use as a bedside table soon I am going to steal the one from Carey's side of the bed.  Mine is missing, after all, because I donated it to his mother's new down-sized space.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Capturing December Challenge day 3...

These Cherry Shortbreads are from Simply Joolz' recipe.  The shortbread melts in your mouth, and the red cherry on top just says 'Christmas' to me.  I haven't baked them this month yet, but I hope to in a few days.  They are so yummy!

And I must send out a big THANK YOU! to Cath @ Home who drew my name in the monthly giveaway she holds for participants of her 'What's for Dinner Wednesday' link party (button on the right --->).  Today's mail brought (all the way from Tasmania!) this gorgeous handmade towel, which will look adorable in my kitchen for Christmas and beyond, and the fun chalkboard jar cute!  :)  Thank you  so much, Cath, I love them!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Capturing December Challenge, day 2...

Favorite Holiday Movie:
A Christmas Story, Dir. Bob Clark, MGM/UA Entertainment Co., 1983

Hands down!  None other in the running.  See that leg lamp on the left of the movie poster?

I love the movie so much, my husband bought me one!  It's the real deal.  A Major Award!

But it is FRAGIL-AY... woe to the miscreant who were to break it AND use up all the glue ON PURPOSE!  :)

Don't worry.  We only put it out at Christmas.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Capturing December Challenge, day 1...

I snagged this photo-a-day challenge from Pamela at The Lady of the House Speaking.  My first thought was that it might benefit me to participate.  I'm hoping that, in order to get a photo each day, it will keep me moving toward readiness for the holidays.  Christmas Eve usually finds me madly wrapping packages; I don't want to be doing that this year.

This was my view today: 

My public library has a Pinterest page, and one of their recent pins features a book-lover's Christmas tree from The Decorologist.  Love!  I began putting mine together last night.  Then I took a break.  After examining it at each pass by, I disassembled it and began again.

There are children's books, antique books, much-loved favorite books, picture books, hobby books, board books, big books, small books, Little Golden Books, fairy tales, biographies, poetry, classics...

I'm quite happy with the shape now.  I will add a few more 'ornaments' and some mica snow when I come across them while emptying out the closet where all the Christmas decorations are stored (I haven't started on the other decorating yet).  In the meantime, it makes me smile even unfinished.  Carey got home from the hunting lease today, and was duly impressed.  :)
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